Karen Cogan, PhD, is a licensed psychologist and certified consultant, AASP and currently serves as the sport psychologist for acrobat and combat sports at the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee. She has attended several Olympic Games as the sport psychology consultant for several Olympic medalists and their coaches. In 2000, she published her first book, Sport Psychology Library: Gymnastics, and her work has appeared in sport related journals. She is a member of the American Psychological Association, where she has served as the secretary treasurer and council representative for the Exercise and Sport Psychology Division 47 of APA. She also is a member of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology, where she has served on the executive board. Cogan earned her Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Ohio State University and completed her clinical internship at the University of California, San Diego. She earned her master’s in kinesiology and B.A. from the University of California Los Angeles, where she was a member for the nationally ranked gymnastics team.
In this episode, we cover:
How did Karen’s early gymnastics career shape her desire to be a sports psychologist? As a gymnast on the UCLA Gymnastic’s team, what is a moment Karen really struggled? What is kinesiology, and why did Karen get her master’s in it? What are the different approaches and paths to this field? (e.g., clinical psychology training, mental skills training, sports/exercise science) What advice does Karen have around deciding on the right graduate program orientation? What is the difference between a counseling and a clinical psychology PhD? And why did Karen go with counseling? What should grad school applicants ask about the program? How did Karen gain experience in sport psychology during her counseling PhD? What were Karen’s career goals? Are sport psychologists qualified to work with any type of athlete, or do they specialize? How did Karen become a sport psychologist at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee? How much time does she spend traveling? What is the day to day like? What is it like to be a sport psychologist at the Olympic Games?How do you work with an athlete who doesn’t perform their best under pressure?What do you find is harder for athletes, staying motivated for long periods of time, or staying motivated after a big loss?When working with an athlete for the first time, how do you start to build trust with them?How do you balance input from many different professionals who are caring for the athletes (e.g., coaches, nutritionists, physical therapists, physicians)? Where does Karen see the future of this field going? What is one skill, quality, or general factor that served Karen no matter where she went?
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Music by: Adam Fine